Liverpool Campaign 2012: What do we want?

This campaign seeks, in the first instance, to raise awareness of a new street performance policy which Liverpool City Council have put into place which will come into effect from Monday, 9th July 2012.

We believe that it is important to draw attention to the coercive nature of many of the terms and conditions of this policy. Currently, street artists and performers throughout Liverpool are being urged to sign up to the licensing scheme which this new policy requires. In our view, the terms and conditions of this policy are ill-considered and unduly restrictive.

We are therefore actively advising street performers not to grant tacit assent to the policy as a whole by acquiring individual licenses. Instead, we are urging the council to initiate a genuinely collaborative process to arrive at a street performance policy which works for all parties involved.

We do recognise, however, that Liverpool City Council are in need of a street entertainment policy of some kind. We realise that street performances can generate complaints and issues to which the Council is required to respond in some way. We are keen to engage positively with the Council to help them develop a policy towards street artists and performers that recognises their hugely positive contribution to the vibrancy of the city centre, whilst at the same time emphasising the responsibilities we all have for showing consideration to everybody who shares in our public spaces.

We want the council to recognise that spontaneity has a vitally important role in the cultural life of our streets, a life in which street artists and performers play a significant part in shaping. The street artists and performers of Liverpool are part of what makes the city what it is, and helps to make it stand out from other city centres that have become bland and homogenised. The policy that the council have put forward is, in our view, so restrictive that it leaves little room for organic street culture to flourish.

We are therefore urging the council to put this policy on hold, and get back to the drawing board. We wish to see a policy developed towards street artists and performers that is fair and consensual, rather than coercive and imposed. We hope to see the City of Liverpool flourish and build on its deserved reputation as a European Capital of Culture. We want to keep our streets live.